By David Tuller, DrPH
On Monday afternoon, I had an e-mail exchange with Christine Hill, a spokeswoman for the Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota. Thane Fredrickson, an ME/CFS patient, is currently under threat of involuntary psychiatric commitment. Because of patient privacy concerns, it was clear the medical center would not be able to provide any specific information. But reporters are still obliged to ask questions even when the answer will inevitably be “no comment.” Receiving such an inquiry also alerts an institution, in this case Hennepin Healthcare, that an issue is of public concern and that its actions are being observed.
Thane has lawyers working on his behalf and, as I understand it, is still awaiting a hearing on his case.
The e-mail exchange with the medical center is below.
Dear Ms Hill–
I am a public health academic and investigative reporter at UC Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health, part of the School of Public Health. I frequently cover issues related to the illness ME/CFS.
Thane Fredrickson admitted himself for nutritional reasons last week and now faces possible involuntary psychiatric confinement. Does the medical center have a comment about this situation and why it has decided to pursue this strategy in Mr Fredrickson’s case?
I have already addressed his case in this post on Virology Blog, a widely read site hosted by Professor Vincent Raacaniello, a microbiologist at Columbia University. (I have cc’d Professor Racaniello here.) It is ironic that the medical center is seeking to pursue this strategy even as The New York Times magazine has published an in-depth look at the biomedical aspects of ME/CFS.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this inquiry.
David Tuller, DrPH
Senior Fellow in Public Health and Literature
Center for Global Public Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Mr. Tuller â€“ because patients have the right to privacy, we would not be able to answer any specific questions about a patientâ€™s medical care without his/her consent.
Hennepin Healthcare | Media Relations